On the Longing of Creation To Be Set Free

In the first reading for Tuesday of this week, St. Paul speaks of the longing of creation to be set free. He almost personifies creation:

For indeed, creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21).

Yes, creation itself eagerly awaits the day when God will say (in the words of an old spiritual), “Oh, Preacher, fold your Bible, for the last soul’s converted!” Then creation itself will be set free from its bondage to death and decay and will be gloriously remade into its original harmony and the life-possessing glory that was once paradise.

Isaiah takes up a similar theme we often hear in Advent”

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Hence, when Christ from His judgment seat shall finally say, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5), and when with John we see “a new heavens and a new earth” (Rev 21:1), I have little doubt that animals will share in that recreated and renewed kingdom where death shall be no more (Rev 21:4).

In several recent posts I have raised alarms about the anti-human dimensions of much of the environmentalist and climate change agendas. But none of this should be taken to mean that I don’t love the beautiful works of God’s creation. I love the passages above about how creation is longing and yearning.

Call me a bit sentimental but I have often thought that perhaps, in our interaction with our pets, God is giving us a glimpse of the harmony we will one day enjoy with all creation. Perhaps our pets are ambassadors for the rest of creation, a kind of early delegation sent by God to prepare the way and begin to forge the connections of the new and restored creation. Maybe they are urging us on in our task of making the number of the elect complete so that all creation can sooner receive its renewal and be restored to the glory and harmony it once had. Who knows? But I see a kind of urgency in the pets I have had over the years. They are filled with joy, enthusiasm, and the expectation of something great.

They show joyful expectation! Yes, there was a kind of joyful expectation in the dogs of my youth: running in circles around me, dashing to greet me when I arrived home, and jumping for joy when I announced a car ride or a walk. My cats have always sauntered over to meet me at the door with a meow, an arched back, and a rub up against my leg. Somehow our pets manifest the passage above: creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19).

While I realize that we humans often project what we want their behavior to mean, I am still fascinated by the way our pets come to “know” us and set up a kind of communication with us.

Dogs, especially, are very demonstrative, interactive, and able to make knowing responses. Cats are more subtle. My cat, Jewel, knows my patterns. She also knows how to communicate to me that she wants water, food, or just a back rub. She’s a big talker, too, meowing each time I enter the room. Sometimes I wish she could just tell me what she wanted!

Yes, this interaction with our pets is indeed mysterious. I am not suggesting that animals are on a par with humans intellectually or morally; Scripture is unambiguous that animals are given to us by God and that we are sovereign stewards over them. However, animals—especially our pets—are to be appreciated as gifts from Him. Scripture is also clear that animals will be part of the renewed creation that God will bring about when Christ comes again in glory.

They are part of the Kingdom! Without elevating pets (no matter how precious to us) to the full dignity of human beings, it is not wrong to think that they will be part of the Kingdom of God in all its restored harmony and beauty.

One day when Christ comes again, creation, now yearning, will receive the healing for which it longs.

Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: On the Longing of Creation To Be Set Free

3 Replies to “On the Longing of Creation To Be Set Free”

  1. Msgr. I smile at your fury companion, you’re singing my song, I love my fury companions, I’ve always had both to the present day, they give me such joy, and pleasure, taking care of them, watching them enjoy their fury lives, yes, I have high hopes for our fury companions in the great renewal of the Lord…….on a side note I had a bit of unusal encounter after Sunday mass, I pulled into a drive-thru to order some food, then preceded to the window and a young man appears and says “do you know what your price is” that caught me off guard…..ummn….well….the lady mention 6 something….young man…6..6..6,..(deb)..oh..my..that’s not good….maybe I should add an item….deb smiles and then adds, it is Halloween next week and the lady behind him turns with actually a bit of scared looked,…deb’s thinking…ackward…and that was the end of that, paid and ate my 666 menu and probably will never order it again,…at least it will have another item.

  2. My wife found an angel kenneled up at the animal shelter near our house about five years ago. I didn’t want another pet after the prior one’s passed because of going through the pain of losing someone as close and loyal as they are . She wanted companionship while I was at work and she being unable to take gainful employment due to health reasons. She named her Lexie because she didn’t care for the shelter given name Gypsy and what that angel has given us in return and shown us about unconditional love and loyalty has revealed more about what was lacking in us before she came under our roof. We probably weren’t worthy of such a blessing but God is merciful and reveals Himself in mysterious ways. God has freed us of much through Lexie. We tell her she gives us Jesus’s love and every Sunday when we go to mass we tell her we have to go thank Jesus for giving us Lexie and it is the only time she seems to accept and understand we have to leave her at home alone until we return.

  3. Msgr. since Pope Paul gets a bum rap, here’s some love for him :

    1) Padre Pio : https://www.ewtn.com/padrepio/priest/pope.htm

    2) Pope John Paul 11 : . “Peter, do you love me?”. We can say that Paul VI’s life was a response to Christ’s question: a great proof of love for God, the Church and mankind. He loved God as a gracious and caring Father, and during the important moments of his life, especially those burdened with difficulties and suffering, he displayed a very strong sense of the divine fatherhood.

    When, as Archbishop of Milan, he decided to hold a popular mission to instil new energy in the city’s Christian tradition, he chose as his basic theme: God is Father. Then on 6 August, 20 years ago, as he neared the end of his earthly life at Castel Gandolfo, he wanted to recite the Our Father as his last prayer.

    And what can be said of his passionate love for Christ? His was an essentially Christocentric spirituality. In the homily to mark the beginning of his Pontificate, he explained that he had chosen the name of Paul because the Apostle “loved
    Christ supremely, because he greatly wanted and strove to bring the Gospel of Christ to all nations, because he offered his life in Christ’s name” (30 June 1963, in Insegnamenti I, [1963], pp. 24-25). On another occasion he added that it is impossible to leave Christ out of consideration, “if we want to know something certain, full, revealed about God; or rather, if we want to have a living, direct and authentic
    relationship with God” (General Audience, 18 December 1968; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 26 December 1968, p.

    To his love for God the Father and for Christ the Teacher, Paul VI joined an intense love for the Church, for which he spent all his physical, intellectual and spiritual energies, as the touching confession he made in Pensiero alla morte
    testifies: “The Church … I could say that I have always loved her; … and that I think I have lived for her and for nothing else” (cf. Pubblicazione dell’Istituto Paolo VI, Brescia 1988, pp. 28-29).

    What Saint doesn’t have his critics, even the God/Man had his judges, ….I know as I got back in to church, I happen onto to some negative readings and thanks be to God was steer
    clear from them with hearing Pope John Paul because he was saying one thing, in regards to the council, etc. and these other catholic voices in print I picked up were saying another, and I just got convicted in the spirit to stay away from them and stay close to Peter. ….of course, one must be prudent, Peter can not lead us into sin and away for the Gospel.

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